Banco Español de Algas

"Bioimmunostimulants and photoprotectors of red algae with a high capacity to biofilter effluents from fish farms" (MEC 2005 - 2008)

The BIFARO project proposes using red algae that are intensively grown in the effluent of fish farms and with a high capacity for biofiltration for the purpose of yielding substances with photobiological applications. Research will be conducted to improve the cultivation and biofiltration systems using cascading tanks and raceway-type ponds. This project will study the relationship between the high availability of ammonium and phosphate in the effluent and the ultraviolet radiation in the build-up of nitrogenous and photoprotective compounds – mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) – by stimulating the metabolism of nitrogen. Specifically, the goal is to analyze the photoprotective capacity of MAAs not only against erythema, but against other markers involved in photocarcinogenesis. Also studied will be the stimulation of the carbon pathway in the effluent biofiltration system in an effort to increase the build-up of polysaccharides and oligosaccharides with immunostimulative potential. The immunostimulative capacity of various types of polysaccharides will be analyzed: acidic polysaccharides from red microalgae (Porphyridium cruentum), polysaccharides from the agar family (Gracilaria sp) and carrageenan (Hypnea spinella and Grateloupia dichotoma), as well as those obtained from new species of red algae tested in the system. The immunostimulative capacity of the polysaccharides will be tested both in vitro and in vivo in mice.


The BIFARO project aims to investigate and apply the dual role of previously selected red algae cultures: (1) their ability to biofilter wastewater from fish farms; and (2) the use in photodermatological applications of nitrogen pathway compounds, MAAs (photoprotectors and antioxidants) and carbon pathway compounds, polysaccharides (immunostimulants). The photoprotective, antioxidant and immunostimulative abilities of algal products (functional ingredients) could reduce the risk of photocarcinogenesis and immunosuppression.

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